18
Oct
2011

BIRTHDAY, by Dana Jerman

Chicago writer Jerman blogs here.

 

For Brandon L.

At a party at my neighbors’. She’s wearing a black mini skirt and black tights. I’m a tall banner in a too-short lavender V-neck sweater and jeans.

I don’t know her name. Never met her. She’s not the girl I came with. All I know is by the end of the night I will know her and that could be a problem.

A few hours and the party’s moved from the house to the bar, and we know a few details. Namely that she totally wants me. Including some of the most subtle racist shit I’ve ever heard — but I’m not sure she wants to admit that these aren’t really her own thoughts and words. I’m at least not so drunk I don’t know her heart’s not in it.

So, a number exchange and a cheek-peck later my girl who is not this girl asks to hit it and we go.

Now Tuesday, and last weekend is miles away. Three o’clock and the winter sun bright as summer. I go out to the back deck of our building to smoke a cigarette I must have rolled months ago, the tobacco crisp and dry.

Looking down at the mess of mops, brooms, rags by the doors, a flash of something half remembered: I was drunk and out here with my girl about a month ago. She’d gone in for something and I stayed out catching cold. Out thru one of those back doors downstairs comes bursting this couple. Ejecting themselves from a party with their kisses audible. Their gropes frantic.

It was just sexy and violent enough for me to think later I’d dreamed it up in all my stupor.

One pulled the other back inside after their fevered ritual and I guess I went back inside too.

This time I found myself going straight for the fone to dial her. Black-skirt-black-tights picks up on the fourth ring.

Now here’s “Hullo?” made of equal parts annoyance and obnoxiousness.

I immediately think: fuck. Why am I calling this altogether beautiful, altogether unremarkable girl? What am I going to say? And: Why am I resisting the urge to hang up?

And that’s when the tender wave of freedom realized me: None of this will matter. And it doesn’t have to go anywhere.

I could say whatever I liked.

Then I did:

“Hey! It’s me, the boy you met at the party on Saturday. Yeah, that bar was great. No, you didn’t introduce me to the bartender. Thanks, I thought you were well dressed also. No, really. Right, well it is a beautiful day and… Hmm, I’ve got a steady girlfriend. You know, you met her. Oh, yeah. Yeah, we’d love to. OK, what time and where? Yeah thanks, thanks again.”

Ten minutes tops was all it took to get back in it for another go.

My girl couldn’t wait. She’s not usually into this weekend-after-next-party racket, but her attitude changed. I watched that mouth of hers and it behaved differently.

On the way over she showed her cards:

“Want to play a love game?”

Was this really happening? Tell me this was happening.

“‘Love game?’ Uh, yes?”

“OK. I pick the girl for you. You pick the boy for me. We have to kiss them in front of each other at some point in the evening. No rush.”

I felt suddenly like it was my birthday and that here in the car on the way to a party on a Saturday night, all I had was all I wanted. The girl who was already mine had smiled at me and welcomed me home.

It was a good start.

 

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